Next Move: Becoming a project manager

I have two years' development experience. My problem is that I have become quite knowledgeable in many areas but not really an...

I have two years' development experience. My problem is that I have become quite knowledgeable in many areas but not really an expert in anything. I am at a stage where I do not really know my next move. I am 25 and a business and IT graduate. I am interested in IT consultancy and IT project management but I am unsure how to move into these areas. Are these viable options?

You need at least five years in IT
Your objectives are realistic but challenging in this market. As we expect an improvement in job prospects across the industry from next year, these chances will improve.

However, you will typically need more experience to become a project manager or a consultant - a minimum of five years plus. So, you are correct, you will need more experience in an IT discipline to move into either of these roles.

Does your current company offer any scope to develop into project management? Can you gain any experience working on any IT-related projects? It is worth asking these questions before you extend your search.

IT project managers typically have followed a development career, from analyst programmer upwards, so it may be a good option to consider moving along this route. A large company that invests in careers will be a good bet for this because you will need ongoing training and mentoring. If your current employer cannot offer this, it may be worth looking at a larger organisation that offers a more structured career path.

Finally, it is definitely worth approaching the big consultancies (depending on your degree result), though you would have to expect to specialise in a technical discipline for a few more years.

Solution by Michael Bennett, Best International

The panel: MSB International, Best International, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Computing, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK
This was last published in September 2002

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